Thomas DaCosta Kaufmann: Scratching the Surface or Mediating Cultures? The Dutch in Taiwan and China

Evening lecture

Unlike other Europeans elsewhere in Asia, and even the Jesuits in China, the Dutch may be said to have been merely scratching the surface of the great culture they encountered during the Ming and Qing dynasties. In contrast with the tremendous impact of Chinese products and the image of China on Europe, European, and especially Dutch impact, was relatively slight. The Dutch also left limited traces in Taiwan, which they controlled for four decades. Nevertheless, the story of the possibilities and limitations of these cultural encounters is instructive. It reveals several interesting aspects of cultural interchange. Most important, the history of the Dutch in seventeenth- and eighteenth-century Taiwan and China reinforces the impression gained from a larger project on the impact of the Dutch in the area from Cape of Good Hope to Japan. The Dutch played a major role in mediating cultures.

Thomas DaCosta Kaufmann is Frederick Marquand Professor of Art and Archaeology at Princeton University. He teaches courses on art and architecture of the sixteenth to the eighteenth century in Europe and its relations with other parts of the world. His teaching includes seminars and classes on the literature of art, old master drawings, Central European Art, the art of Latin America, the geography of art, global exchange in art, the possibilities of world art history, and art, science, and magic. Professor Kaufmann has recently advised students who have written or are writing dissertations on Jesuit art in Japan, on seventeenth-century poets and painters in Silesia, on architecture and culture in seventeenth-century Sweden, on architectural theory in late eighteenth-century Poland, on Puncinello themes in the art of G. B. Tiepolo, on occult themes in the German Renaissance, and on the architect and theorist Wenzel Dietterlin; on Bonifaz Wohlmut and the origins of Renaissance architecture in the Czech lands; and on the Hyperborean Baroque (visual culture in seventeenth-century Sweden).

In December 2010 Professor Kaufmann was awarded the degree of Doctor philosophiae honoris causa by the Technische Universität, Dresden. The diploma presented to him at a ceremony held in Dresden in May 2011 cited the quality of his scholarship, especially on Central Europe, its application as a basis in the effort to establish a more global history of art, and his services for international collaboration and mutual understanding among nations. At the ceremony Professor Kaufmann lectured on Natural History and Art in Dresden.

After spending the first term teaching at Princeton, Thomas DaCosta Kaufmann was on leave in Spring Term 2013, when from January through May he was Nina Maria Gorrissen Fellow in History at the American Academy in Berlin. In June he was the Director’s visitor at the German Art Historical Institute in Florence, where he had been invited to collaborate on global art history projects, and conducted several seminars. He delivered keynote lectures on world art history at an International Conference co-sponsored by the École Normale Supérieure, Paris, and Purdue University in September; at an international conference on New Directions in Latin American Art History at the University of Hamburg in January; and at a symposium on World Art History at the Schloss in Dresden in May. He delivered "Reflections on World Art History" as the Nina Maria Gorrissen Lecture at the American Academy in Berlin in February, at the Mickiewicz University Poznań, Poland, in March, and at the University of Greifswald in April. He lectured on the "Spirit of the Place" at the University of Göttingen in April, and at the Technical University, Berlin in May. In March Professor Kaufmann was invited to the Palacký University in Olomouc, Czech Republic, where he gave three lectures.

In addition to aiding various American and European fellowship committees and universities on appointment and scholarship decisions, Professor Kaufmann continued to serve as a panel member and external advisor to the Fellowship Committee of the European Research Council, in conjunction with which he attended a meeting in Brussels. He also was a member of an external committee that evaluated part of the University of Leiden, Netherlands.

Professor Kaufmann undertook a major new responsibility as editor-in-chief of the Oxford Bibliography of the History of Art, scheduled to be launched in mid-2013. For this project he wrote the essay on (Western) Historiography of Art History.

During the academic year 2012-2013 Professor Kaufmann published the following articles and books: "Representation, Replication, Reproduction: The Legacy of Charles V in Sculpted Rulers’ Portraits of the Sixteenth and Early Seventeenth Century," Austrian History Yearbook, xliii, 2012, pp. 1-18; "Linz--des Kaisers Kulturhauptstadt um 1600? Ein Escorial in Oberösterreich? ," in Linz--des Kaisers Kulturhauptstadt um 1600?, (exhibition catalogue, Linz, Oberösterreichisches Landesmuseum," Weitra, Bibliothek der Provinz, 2012, pp. 39-54; "ADSIT. Vistas for Rudolfine Research," in Hans von Aachen in Context Proceedings of the International Conference Prague 22-25 September 2010, ed. Lubomír Konečný and Štěpán Vácha with Beket Bukovinská, Prague, Artefactum, 2012, pp. 245-251; "Centres or Periphery? Art and Architecture in the Empire," in The Holy Roman Empire, 1495-1806. A European Perspective, ed. R. J. W. Evans and Peter H. Wilson, Leiden and Boston, Brill, 2012, pp. 315-332; "Un Empire d’art: l’Europe Centrale aux alentours de 1550-1630," in Dürer et son temps. De la Réforme à la Guerre de Trente Ans. Dessins Allemands de l’École des Beaux Arts, ed. Emmanuelle Brugerolles et. al., (exhibition catalogue)Paris, Beaux-Arts de Paris, 2012, pp. 10-14; and "Le génie du lieu. Réflexions critiques," in Le "génie du lieu." La réception du langage classique en Europe (1540-1650) : sélection, interprétation, invention, ed. Monique Chatenet et Claude Mignot, Paris, Picard, 2013, pp. 65-74. He also published reviews of Italy & Hungary. Humanism and Art in the Early Renaissance, ed. Péter Farbaky and Louis A. Waldman. Villa I Tatti, Harvard University Press. 2011, Renaissance Quarterly, lxv, no. 3, 2012, pp. 874-6; and of Carina L. Johnson, Cultural Hierarchy in Sixteenth-Century Europe. The Ottomans and the Mexicans, Cambridge etc., Cambridge University Press, 2011, American Historical Review, May, 2013.

Review, Stanisław Mossakowski, King Sigismund Chapel at Cracow Cathedral (1515-1533). trans. Krystyna Malcharek, Cracow, IRSA, 2012, Renaissance Quarterly, forthcoming 2013.

"Historiography of Art History (Western Traditions)", in Oxford Bibliography of the History of Art, ed. Thomas DaCosta Kaufmann, online launch 2013.


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